ID resume: what do you put on them?

I am rethinking my Resume, as I am not sure what to put on it:
-Should there be any product images on it?
-Some graphics on the background?

  • just plain text like any other Resume for a non design position and leave the nice touches for the portfolio?

What does an ID resume look like?



cv usually applies to the document teachers use to apply for tenure-track positions, is that what your doing? if so, I believe it’s more like a resume that sites all of your research, conference presentations and publications in addition to teaching and related professional experiences.

CV is pretty much the same as a resume. (I use word CV/Curriculum Vitae for mine).

As to what should be design-wise, it’s totally up to you. Plain text is OK, some nice design layout is OK, some graphics could be OK.

Best bet to decide what is right for you is to ask yourself-

  1. what are your graphic skills?
  2. what are you planning to do with your CV (ie, send as a teaser, with no portfolio, use with something else, mail, email, fax?)
  3. who are you sending it to (HR, design manager, etc.?)
  4. what are you trying to communicate (ie. lots of professional experience, good graphic skills, flash/sizzle?)

there is no right answer. i’ve done pretty much all kinds and variations throughout the years, from full color, double sided oversized CV with integrated graphics, to plain typographical solution. all have their benefits, and are appropriate for different designers and different purposes.


I have only text one mine, but I use typography, typeface and size, and tone to control eye movement. I’ll email it to you if you want.

Keep it simple, too the point, but design it.

I don’t like to see a lot of fluffy text, just who you worked for/ where you went to school, from when to when, and a little bit about what you did. Some clean typography, maybe a memorable graphic.

dunno if it helps, but here’s mine in the direction of a more type driven solution…

my thoughts were to give the info as needed, but also add a bit of design flare with the chosen colors, type, and logos of my subrands/companies in the footer. i also did a lot of work on the font selection, justification, and overall layout, though (hopefully) this is not really seen more than felt in the execution.

the general feeling i was going for was very corporate, professional and overall personally branded.


Is this a word document or a pdf? Great format Richard.

Are you in school for ID now? Or, are you thinking of career change?

I think we all have: a resume, 2-3 teasers (resume + images), what used to be called the “mail away” portfolio, a small selection of projects from your complete portfolio (used during phone interviews), the portfolio itself (wich is edited from all your work to suit the company your interviewing with - usuallly digital and printed), and finally the process books for each project in the portfolio.

it’s a never ending project to keep them edited and updated.

Thank you all!
This is very interesting.

I think my graphic skills are not all that good, but nonetheless I had my CV with some graphics and images in the background…This is because someone had conveinced me that a designer CV had to be very colorfull, and with a lot of graphic content in it…
But it’s great to see that an almost plain text CV can also do the trick if it’s well thought out.

I’ll rework mine when I get some time, and see what comes out.



A little graphic, personal icon or something, as shown in rkutch’s example works great generally. It makes it memorable. Also, using 1 typeface, or 2 complementary typefaces make things smooth. Just don’t over do it with images. I got a resume from a guy that was filled with stock photography images he’d manipulated. I just had to find out why, so I asked him what was up with all the images… “I really like Photoshop” was the reply.

mine is very close to richard’s. i had some help formulating the text because i don’t think “senior designer” and the duties that entailed applied to the range of work i accomplish. i have one in a clean-text style and one that is a graphic designed layout i hand out at interviews.

i keep track of the total sales my designs account for and will mention them in the proper contect on the resume, among other things (branding, manufacturing knowledge, etc.)

early in my career, i only had a fully customized resume i designed. it was clean and simple, but as my experience grew and my skills became more complex, it didn’t allow me to fully describe my capabilities…plus most HR directors could give 2 shits about the appearance. they just want the facts.

it’s done in InDesign and I send out a PDF. In the past I had also done a version in word for the few HR/recruiters that want that but word layout sometimes goes wonky on different computers and doesn’t embed fonts so I try to avoid it at all costs to preserve the correct formatting/layout.

I also have a few other versions with the same layout, but slightly different copy, depending on if I want to give a more management slant to my experience, design slant, or other.


You can make it an image and drop it into word, but it might not work all the time, so double check that when you do it. Here is mine.

I like these resume threads that are popping up!

Here’s mine. It’s ironic, because Gera-MTL helped me the most with it!

When I did this layout, I didn’t have as much experience as I do now, so I tried to make it stand out. I think it looks a little tacky now, to be honest.

My first was more like Simon’s, just text, very clean, simple. The only problem is that when I first started seeing resumes come into the company where I worked, I realized everyone had a resume that looked like that! By adding a little color and some photos, I think it made people take a second glance at mine.

BTW, CV is what people call resumes outside the US. I was so confused when I moved to Canada…

I didn’t know that cv was interchangeable with resume, I thought it was a more academic listing of educational achievements for some reason. Here’s mine, I’ve spent way too much time on it, but am currently happy with it. So be careful with my fragile resume esteem, I need to spend time on my portfolio!

I see you put down you know MS office. I never know to put things like that down or not, only because everybody knows them.

I haven’t looked for a job recently, but I remember many corporate ones always listed MS office as necessary for the post. I figured I better include it on the CV then!

Carton: that’s nice. I like the colors. I have no idea what those people are supposed to be, but like with mine, it made me look at it longer than I would have if it was just text.

In my time I’ve seen a lot of awful designers CV’s so here are some pointers: you don’t have to agree with everything, but hopefully this will help as the problem with forums is anyone can give advice, but it doesn’t mean it’s good advice!

This is student advice and advice for designers who have a few years experience, you don’t say which one you are, so will have to pick and choose to suit.

The CV…
The CV is a resume of your career and experience. A resume is a summary of your experience. For the purposes of employment they are the same thing depending on the country you’re in.

Ground rules:

The covering letter/email, should be enticing enough to get the employer to look at your CV, the CV should be enticing enough to get invited for interview and then your portfolio and personality will hopefully get you the job.

CV pointers.

Always consider the person/employer who is viewing your CV. The same applies for any design, you wouldn’t design a handle that was uncomfortable to hold, so don’t make a confusing CV that’s difficult to read etc.

If you’re an industrial/product designer, show images in your CV, but remember a CV is not a portfolio. Employers are looking at your CV to see what you’ve done and that you can do what you say you can do. Designers are very visual people and pictures paint 1000 words, so include them (unless they do you a disservice), but importantly, label each image so that the employer knows what they’re looking at (even if you think its obvious), because you’re not going to be there to explain it to them.

Make the images interesting and clear (ie, not pixelated, poorly printed)

Don’t show all the images you have in your portfolio in your CV, that’s what the portfolio’s for, just choose a few (3-5) powerful images, preferably not the same ones that appear in your portfolio. There’s nothing worse than having a candidate turn up for interview to look through their portfolio to find you’ve seen it all before in their CV. It’s boring and the candidate has nothing left to say.

Look at the images, If they don’t work (are misleading, not descriptive etc), leave them off.

A good balance of images is also important, if you have it, try to show evidence of sketching ability (the forgotten but very important art) model making, CAD skills, manufacturing drawings and finished designs. This is also very important in your portfolio, because you’re telling a story. Make these images interesting, bright, a montage etc.

It’s personal taste, but I put the images on a separate sheet to my written experience, this is because I can choose to leave them out, depending on who I’m sending my CV to, or I have three different pages of images and I just attach the one most relevant to the job to the rest of my CV. CV’s with the images behind the text, can make the text difficult to read (or the images difficult to see) and get in the way of the communication.

Don’t show images of group student projects – only show individual work or work where your input is clear. What happens when students leave University is they all send their CV’s to the same agencies who then look through all the CV’s to find several candidates stating that they’ve been the main lead on the same project and they’ve all used the same pictures. It looks terrible and confuses the employer.

The words…
Always list the most relevant/important things first. What’s the point in starting your CV with info on your education, when you’ve been employed as a designer for 2 years. In a busy office, people don’t have time to search a CV for relevant info, so make it easy to access – most relevant info at the top (under a clear heading), bullet points are best and clean and clear fonts!

Label each page with name etc, if the CV is sent by post or emailed and printed out, the CV will get passed around and jumbled up and pages that are not labelled can get easily lost.

Gimmicks generally get in the way – I’ve seen Cv’s that have been delivered in shoes with the covering letter saying – ‘now that I’ve got a foot in the door’ (ha ha)…… In my early days I even made a pop up one, because I was afraid I didn’t have enough experience and wanted to show my creativity. If you don’t have the experience, set yourself design challenges or do the 1hour challenges on core77 to bulk out your portfolio. Show the employer you’re keen and talented.

Importantly, don’t just send your CV and wait because you think its good enough to get an automatic invite, follow it up. Check its reached the right person etc (make sure you find out who the right person is before you send it).

Yeah it sounds obvious when its written down, but you wouldn’t believe how many designers get it wrong. Good luck. PT

Carton - I don’t know about anyone else but I find text spread across the whole page like that very hard to read. I lose where I am, lose concentration, and tend to skim through even more than I usually would. Decrease the width of the text, it will be a lot easier on the eye.

What do people think about just giving a website when emailing for a job? Or is pdf best, in case they want it printed, downloaded?

Thanks product tank. That was the most concise outline of what should be on a cv that I’ve seen (and trust me, I’ve looked at a fair few since I graduated). Really made me think…